The year is half over, and so far I have spent all of 2013 on the road…which is why there hasn’t been a recent blog post!
Traveling so much always gives a fantastic overview of what’s going on; not just in the world at large, but also in the global dance scene. This year I’ve seen an increasing trend that is indicative of a really healthy, creative and especially collaborative dance community. Many instructors (such as Ansuya and Rania, to name just a couple) are offering on-line classes so that they can now teach students from all over the world, and RaksTV offers the same thing from multiple instructors... but now more than ever before, dancers are reaching out to each other to choreograph pieces and begin working together in other ways. Due to the internet, the concept of physical distance has been rendered all but obsolete.
Many of the artistic collaborations are being planned, scripted, rehearsed and polished nationally and internationally via the Internet, with Skype and Youtube. Then, at a designated time and “brick and mortar” place or event, they are being performed live.
Some stellar examples were on display at Tribal Fest 13, where a couple of acts that rehearse this way presented really made a splash. The duo Skella, featuring Belladonna (Washington DC) and Superkate (Brooklyn, NY) did an incredible double dancer/double sword piece, attached to each other like Siamese Twins, with skirts that were conjoined…and almost all of the piece was rehearsed long-distance- even though they couldn't be attached until they were present in the flesh!
See the Skella video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFj6AWZytjo
Skella photo by Ken Vegas: left- Belladonna, right-Superkate
The all-male tribal Fusion “super group” Uru Tribe, featuring, among many others, Steven Eggers, Frank Farinaro, Paige Lawrence, and up and comer Leon Mancilla, absolutely flattened the standing room only crowd live and later wowed with their youtube video. What they did was groundbreaking: an all male belly dance troupe? HELL YEAH! But it was also groundbreaking in that they really were super, and had rehearsed "together" mostly by watching videos!
See them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnGY2qe8MdY
I myself been working in this Internet milieu for a while, mostly cause of my own inability to “stay put’. For over almost two years I’ve been part of a collective of dancers from many different USA cities called The Dangerous Beauties. The idea was conceptualized by SF Bay Area dancer Surreyya Hada, and brought to life by a group of dancers from all over the West Coast. Because of our far-flung locations, we conduct most business via Skype, and then put on live shows in our various locales, with a constantly rotating cast of whomever is available.
Coincidentally, many members of the Beauties were at Tribal Fest teaching, performing and vending, so in the two days following the event, in Northern California, we did a two-day instructional DVD shoot with most of the members, which I participated in as well as directed. This shoot occurred just as my “ Strike A Pose: How To Make The Camera Love You” was released. That project had also been done mostly via the Internet. It was filmed in January, when I was in Kansas, with The Eyes Of Bastet, a local troupe, acting as my models.
See the “Strike A Pose” trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ-Q4AndTK4
Buy The DVD here; http://www.princessfarhana.com/video_strikepose.htm
Kathryn Of Eyes Of Bastet and me on the set for the "Strike A Pose" DVD
Dancer Nyla Crystal on set during the Dangerous Beauties shoot At Red Door Studio
Just before Tribal Fest, I was in Istanbul with Texas-based dancer and HipMix owner Dilara Sultan. Having virtually “met” over the Internet, we discovered that in real life, we got on like gangbusters…so we went to Turkey together, where we went to the Rakkas Istanbul Festival, which (you guessed it) was organized over the Internet. Belgium-based dancer Serkan Tutar readied the festival with his Istanbul-based partner Burcu, who both selected their instructors –from Greece, Egypt, and Europe, as well as Turkey- on the Internet. It was through my Facebook friendship with Serkan, that I joined the festival…and I was surprised to see many Southern California based dancers there as well and because I had been out of Los Angeles for such a long time, I had no idea they were coming!
Mid-set during my vintage orientale fantasy piece at Serkan Tutar's Rakkas Istanbul Festival
The whole idea of a global dance community is really coming alive, and it’s very exciting! I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
As a post script, for the next month I will be home in LA…and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to bee seeing people I know-in real life-not to mention hanging out with my kitties, who have no idea how to use a computer!